Previewing 2017-18 Men’s Hockey: HEA Tournament Quarterfinals Vs. Merrimack

bc men's hockey

Top-ranked in Hockey East and 18th nationally,  Boston College men’s hockey (18-13-4, 18-6-0 Hockey East) will host 10th-seeded Merrimack (12-19-4, 7-15-2) on Friday night to kick off its best-of-three-game Hockey East Quarterfinal matchup. Thanks to its first round bye, two wins guarantee BC a third-straight trip back to TD Garden for semifinal play. Because of BC’s poor non-conference record (0-8-4), the Eagles most likely need to win the Hockey East Championship in order to secure a bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Who is BC playing?

Merrimack

When is BC playing?

March 9, 7 p.m.

March 10, 7 p.m.

*March 11, 6 p.m. (if necessary)

Where is BC playing?

Kelley Rink, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

How to Watch:

The game will be streamed live on Hockey East Online TV.

By the Numbers:

BC:

1) The Eagles are recording 2.9 goals per game, ranking 26th nationally in scoring. On the other side of the ice, they are letting opponents light the lamp an average of 2.7 times per game, coming in at 24th in the country in that department.

2) BC’s scoring attack is headed by a pair of underclassmen. Freshman Logan Hutsko leads BC with a total of 29 points, and sophomore David Cotton has logged a team-high 18 assists.

3) Goaltender Joseph Woll is 15-10-2 on the year, having saved 91.1 percent of the shots that he’s faced. His goals against average is 2.53.

Merrimack:

1) Junior netminder Craig Pantano is posting a .918 save percentage with an 11-12-2 record. His goal against average is 2.32, a bit lower than that of Woll.

2) The Warriors are scoring 2.29 goals per game, compared to their opponents, who are scoring an average of 2.86 goals per game.

3) Senior Brett Seney is the Warriors’ leading scorer with 13 goals this season and a shot percentage of .160. He ranks sixth in the conference in scoring, third in power-play points, and fifth in power-play goals.

Last Meeting:

BC beat the Warriors in the teams’ previous series this season. The Eagles’ defense shined, holding Merrimack to one goal in both games. BC is 10-1-0 in the postseason against Merrimack and 8-1-0 when playing the Warriors in the quarterfinals.

BC wins if…

Woll shuts down the Merrimack offense. The sophomore will need some help from his front line too—the unit will have to limit the Warriors’ shots on net and keep track of their men near the pipes, especially on the rebound. As far as offense is concerned, Hutsko and Graham McPhee, two of BC’s leading scorers, must take quality shots and find their way past Pantano, who’s conceding the fourth-fewest goals among conference goalies this season.

BC loses if…

Woll can’t defend the net effectively, and Merrimack scores early and often. BC has to keep Seney in check, who’s racked up the sixth-most points in Hockey East this year. If BC’s defense is complacent, Woll will be left on his own to fend off a Warriors offense that, although poor on paper, is coming off a three-goal performance and back-to-back overtime victories.